Thursday, June 22, 2006

Socks & art from Kmart

Kmart shoppers accustomed to hunting for bargains on dishracks and bath mats can also take home works of art by Pablo Picasso and other renowned artists starting this week.

The retail chain will begin auctioning off a wealth of fine and rare art from its Michigan headquarters.

The discount retailer better known for selling casual clothing and household needs is offering up a rare Picasso tapestry worth an estimated $25,000, a 15th-Century Ming Dynasty lotus-flower watercolor on silk, and a work by painter and Apollo astronaut Alan Bean autographed by more than 20 United States astronauts, among other works of fine art.

Kmart, which emerged from bankruptcy in 2003, sold its Troy, Michigan, headquarters in December 2005 after merging with Sears.

"It's not uncommon to find great art in companies that have been around for many years. They purchased most of the art back in the 1970s, when the market didn't command such pricey price tags," said Michael Weissman of National Retail Equipment Liquidators.

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